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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
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Wrang, adj. and adv. Also: wrange, vrang, urang, wrong. [ME and e.m.E. wrang (Orm), wrong (c1220), late OE wrang, ON rangr, Norw. vrang, MLG wrange.]

A. adj. 1. Of an action, state, etc. a. Against the moral law, immoral. b. Modifying way or gait: A sinful way of life, a wrongful means of achieving something.a. c1420 Ratis R. 661.
Quharfor leif nocht in wrang vynynge
1460 Hay Alex. 1844 (see 2 b below). a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 154.
Gif I sauld hym his awin It war wrang
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2663.
It is wrang that for the fatheris gilt The saikles … suld punist be
1535 Stewart 26941.
Drinking, dyis, and all sic wrang abusioun
1551 Hamilton Cat. 114.
Gif thi intentioun be rycht [etc.] … bot … gif thi intentioun be wrang thi deidis ar maid displesand to God
b. 1490 Irland Mir. II 139/28.
He has … schawin him the richt way to paradice … and als … the wrang peruerst way
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 214/24.
Giff I be lustie in myne array Than [etc.] … Or ellis I haif it sum wrang way: Lord God, how sall I governe me?
a1538 Abell 50b.
This is the wrang way to the kinrik of hewin
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1373.
Ȝe se this quene be wayis wrang Willing put doun this proper chyle
a1599 Rollock Wks. I 435.
Gif it be not reformed, it sall ay carie thee the wrang gait

2. a. Of an action: Against the law of the land, illegal. b. Of conquest, ownership, etc.: Achieved, acquired or put into effect contrary to law or right. c. Of succession, etc.: Illegitimate.a. 1513 Wigtown B. Ct. 17b.
For the vrang haldin frai him of a mesk fat
1612 Inverness Rec. II 99.
Convict in the vrang trubling of Thomas Squeyar, in his maling builth
b. 1460 Hay Alex. 1842.
I traist in God that for the wrang trewage Quhilk he wald haue of Grece … His wrang desyre sall fall him-self vpoun
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1261.
The … pure commounis that daylie ar opprest Be tirrane men quhilkis settis all thair cure Be fals meinis to mak ane wrang conquest
c1475 Wall. iii 295.
The wrang conquest our king desiris ay
1495 Acta Conc. I 394/2.
The wrangwis … vptaking of ther merchis … stannis & making of wrang merchis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 20/133.
I me confes … Off fals seling for wrang deliverance At counsall [etc.]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 183/61.
Quha sall weild the wrang possessioun Or the gold gatherit with oppressioun Quhen [etc.]
a1586 Maitland Geneal. Setoun 10.
The caus of this decay hes bene sum wrang conqueis or be sum grit oppressioun done be sum of that hous
a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 428/27.
Vrang possessouris Repent sall ȝe
c. 1456 Hay I 23/32.
In the quhilk tyme the traytrous Romayns maid thre wrang papis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 806.
Off wrangus get cummis wrang successioun

3. Chiefly of evidence, information, opinion, etc.: Not right, mistaken, erroneous; immoral; false. Also ellipt. and proverb. b. Applied to language: Incorrect. c. Of scat: See Scat(t n. 4 d. 1456 Hay I 16/27.
Fals prechouris and techouris of errouris … quhilkis … techis othir symple folk fals poyntis of the wrang errouris, the quhilkis tynis mony a saule
a1500 Bernardus 93.
Wrang jugment thow geffys … Geff auarice thi purs sal lows and bynde
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1148 (B).
Freind ȝe haive ane wrang iugment For in that buike thair is no heresie Bot Chrystis word
1549 Compl. 83/15.
Cayphas … spak treu prophesye bot ȝit he and the Jueis interpret it to the vrang sens
1567 G. Ball. 196.
Of wrang delatioun … And fals witnes
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 442.
For fauour of freindis, … No wrang decretis thay aucht to leid
1585 Waus Corr. 325.
He … hais maid vrang report of me … sayand [etc.]
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 76/1.
Thaire neuir raise faction … but thay uaire euer upon the urang ende of it
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 178/7.
For ansoure against thir arguments I knau nane but the aulde Skottis facon quhilke gif it be urang [etc.]
1603 Inverness Rec. II 9.
Being accusit … in mackinge of ane wrange narrative on the provest
1618 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 113.
Of his debursmentis … in the last comptis … quhilk wes omittit be wrang laying and now payit to him
ellipt. 1573 Cath. Tr. 29/24.
To espy quha defendis the richt caus, and quha intentis the wrang
proverb. 1549 Compl. 183/29.
The comont prouerb sais that in euyrie tua contrar opinions ther is ane rycht and ane vrang
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 876 (see B 1 below). a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1659.
Wrang compt is na payment
b. c1616 Hume Orthog. 9.
As for … u, the south pronunces … as eu, teu for tu … quhilk because it is a diphthong sound … I hoep I sal not need argumentes to prove it wrang, and not be a pure voual
1581-1623 James VI Poems I 99/25.
My affaires … uill not permitt me … to amende my auin errouris no not to remarke the urang ortographie comittid be the coppiaris of my unlegibill … hande

4. Of a material or non-material thing: False. 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 105.
Tratouris … with wrang keyis opnit the durres
1588–9 Burntisland B. Ct. 28 Feb.
The said Beatrix … cum within the said Williamis dwellinge hous with wrange keis
1599 Reg. Privy C. VI 7.
[Jaques Strang son … of Johnne Strang of Balcasky] haveing gevin oute himselff for ane honnest maircheant in the cuntrey of France and yit undir ane wrang name calling himselff Jaques Strang
1625 Justiciary Cases I 31.
The allegit useing of ane wrang elne … thir fals elnes [etc.]

5. Disordered, in disarray, not functioning properly. 15.. Wyf Awcht. 103.
Scho fand all wrang that sowld bene richt
1567 Sat. P. vi 131.
I pray thé … be circumspect In thy default se that na thing be wrang
1633 Rutherford Christ's Napkin 4.
The marriage-day … when we shall be cloathed, and not a wrong pinn on us
1684 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt 15 March.
For waiting on the gine being the 1st weik it was setting & mending quhat was wrong

6. In collocation with hand. a. In vrang handdis, into the possession of an enemy. b. One's wrang hand, one's left hand.a. 1547–8 Corr. M. Lorraine 213.
I … dar nocht be plane in this wreittyng becais I feir it haippin in vrang handdis
b. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 786 (Asl.).
Than Crist in sentens sall say … Fra his wrang hand ewill pepill till expell Pas warijt wretchis [etc.]
1533 Bell. Livy I 38/14.
Becaus the rivere of Tyber severit thame fra the Romane landis on thare richt handis, thai turnit thame on thare wrang handis

B. adv. 1. In a wrong or mistaken fashion or direction, erroneously. Also proverb. a1400 Leg. S. xv 3.
Swme … wenis that Barnabas Ane of the apostolis was; Bot thai wene wrang
a1500 Seven S. 2153.
That thow dremyt, I ga nocht wrang, That [etc.]
a1500 K. Hart 336.
Ȝouthheid had him maid ane courtlie cot … Bot Hevines had fassonit it all wrang
1513 Doug. xii vi 2.
Eneas Behaldand quhou all wrang the gem dyd pas
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 162/7.
It apperis to me ȝe rehers the text wrang
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 164/31.
Ȝe think all wrang becaus ȝour thocht is aganis the scripture
c1590 Fowler II 65/31.
This word … quhilk be sum is exponit obtulit, bot wrang
c1616 Hume Orthog. 11.
The south … pronunces eu, we ou, both, in my simple judgement, wrang
1638 Sel. Biog. II 18.
The grounds whereupon the dispute runs wrong on their syde
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 876.
Wrang hears, wrang answers gives

2. To do (one) wrang, to act in a harmful, injurious or illegal manner. c1420 Wynt. vii 2369.
The carle than sayd, thai dyd hym wrang, On gallows gyve thai gert hym hang
1619 Crim. Trials III 469.
Being decernit in Court … to haif done wrang in teilling and sawing of ane peice of land

3. To ga wrang. a. To take a wrong direction. Also fig. b. To fail to function properly.a. 1513 Doug. vi Prol. 8.
To follow Virgil in this dyrk poyse, Convoy me, Sibil, that I ga nocht wrang
1551 Hamilton Cat. 31.
Cursit … is he that causis ane blind man gang wrang in his jorney
1567 G. Ball. 92.
Quhen fra the hie way I ga wrang
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. iii 690.
Errata … litora, per quae erravit cum Ulysse (gaid wrong)
fig. a1508 Kynd Kittok 32 (B).
Sanct Petir hit hir with a club … becaus the wyfe ȝeid wrang
1560 Rolland Seven S. 143.
That he may viceles be Of all vices, and sic thing as gais wrang
b. 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 803.
Thair instrumentis all maist war fidillis lang, Bot with a string quhilk neuer a wreist ȝeid wrang

4. Modifying a past participle. a. Erroneously or incorrectly. b. Not in accordance with good workmanship.a. c1475 Wall. ix 780.
To Fyfe he past … Bot wrangwarnyt off Inglismen was he
b. 1583 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 310.
The rwif thairof has bene wrang wrocht … that the thak of the same … is ane verray lycht thak

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"Wrang adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Jun 2023 <>



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